These are two important tenets of married life. Once we kind of forget one of these, we look around us and wonder what in the world happened. When did our life begin to look like this? The seed of discontent springs up.
First: Marriage is good.
In Genesis 1 and 2, God creates and creates and declares it all good. Then, God looks at man. He has given him gorgeous mountaintops, sunrises and sunsets, forests and fields, and wildlife in abundance. In Genesis 2:18, God tells us for the first time that something is not good.
Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”
God created marriage. And what God creates He declares good. That alone means that married life is worth all the effort. It’s of Him, so while we experience it here on earth, the work of marriage, the message of marriage, has an eternal impact.
Second: Marriage is hard.
Whooo-wee. Most of the time, no one who is married needs convincing on this one.
But we often forget to give ourselves credit for making it through together. I am constantly telling my children that the things that are hard in life are the things most often worthwhile. This certainly applies to marriage. We are surrounded by dishes that need to be done, budgets that are hard to keep, and a romantic life that waxes and wanes.
In the good and the hard of marriage, giving ourselves permission to recognize what is good and what is hard can go a long way. Just like being able to say, “I’m sad,” begins to free us from the internal anxiety of emotions, saying, “This is hard,” can transform the way you and your spouse look at your relationship and the life you are building together. It gives us permission to be honest and tackle the problems that come, as a team.
But don’t forget the good. Only seeing the challenges before us, we cheat ourselves of the gifts that God has given us. So we need a way to say,
“This is good, hard stuff.”
So, at our house we have embraced the marriage high five. It’s ridiculously simple, but it’s a great way to honor a marriage moment done well. To be fair, it wasn’t our idea, but something we learned from our good friends, Jason and Jaime Christ. (Thank you, Christs!)
When’s an appropriate time to use the marriage high five? You choose! Here are some examples from our house:
- Organizing your schedule together
- Sitting down for a hot beverage and a movie alone together
- Figuring out whose turn it is to clean out the garbage cabinet
- Recognizing a moment well parented
- Doing date night when you’re just not feeling it for each other
- Praying together
- Recovering from an argument with forgiveness spoken
This is all the good, hard stuff of everyday life. There are bigger moments to be celebrated as well: sitting together in the doctor’s office after being told the cancer is in remission, watching together as a child graduates from school, breathing together after a season of struggle.
So, I invite you to celebrate even one marriage moment today. Know that we have a God who celebrates with us, who attends our wedding feasts and holds us up in the hard moments. He sees our every joy and every frustration. He sees the moments of sadness and the moments of triumph. He calls it all good when it’s in Him. That alone is certainly worth a marriage high five!